System resources to run a game

1) What is the minimum hardware you can get away with? Especially, how much disk space does a game take up?

Assuming that the machine is dedicated to Blind galaxy, just about anything that the code can be ported to will do. On a lightly loaded Sparc-10, running SunOS 4.1.4, a "worst case" forecast/order check takes roughly 1 minute (this is for a player with 70,000+ Ind, and generating "Long forecasts" on 1500 lines of orders). Turns for that game took ~10 minutes to run (most of which was spent waiting for the inefficient disk IO bound report writing, and datafile read/writes). A more reasonable number is ~30seconds for forecasts, and 5 minutes for a turn (possibly less if the code is compiled with optimization turned on). Several people are running games on 586's Linux. I did most of my development work and testing on a Sun IPX, Sparc 5, or Sparc 2- very low end boxes by today's standards.

Disk space:

    worst case- datafile will on occasion reach 600K, execuatables
                ~300K each for Blind and blind.dbg, (~600K with debuging
                symbols turned on), reports ~900K each (if there is a major
                battle, everone is there, all have long forecasts on, etc)
                to 1000K [I've seen this happen maybe once per game].

    average case- datafile 100K/300K/450K (early, mid, and late game),
                reports 100K each (but you don't need to have them
                around after you mail them out).

   pathalogical worst case- In the endgame of a 80 turn or longer
                game, battles between huge forces can consume more.
                In this case, reports can grow to several megabytes do
                to all the shots being fired. The blindrc file can get
                similarily bloated. Run time memory use in this one
                case was ~80M. As battles involving ships with 0.01%
                or so chances to hit are fairly rare, I wouldn't
                concern myself with this.
I save 5 turns of back reports, all forwarded messages and orders, all blindrc files (1 per turn). Using zip (or some other good compression program [gzip, zoo, not Unix compress]), a game takes up less than 10M between turns, and uses an extra 4-5M while a turn is in progress. A disk starved GM could get away with 2-3M if they did one report at a time (<2M if they write reports to stdout, which they pipe to mail directly).

2) How much Email can a GM expect to have to deal with?

This depends on a lot of factors. If one has automatic forwarding of messages (or disallows them), less than 5 messages per week over and above orders once the game is running [say, past turn 10]. Things occasionaly break (or change) when new releases (or bugfixes) are installed. This can generate a few more questions from your players. Player experience levels, and mail/system stability/accessibility also contribute. Having Howard in your games generates an occasional message too, as he updates you with his newest set of bugs (err, code).

3) What tools are useful? I know procmail does the job but are there any others?

MH's slocal is also of use and can do most of the same stuff as procmail. The blind source comes with a server (but the less said about that piece of dung, the better) built around MH (but not using slocal for various reasons).

4) Has anyone got the turn checker right yet ;-) ?

Blind galaxy has had a order checker since V2.00 (November 1992), and a sometimes stable forecaster since V2.33 (August 1993). The features added in a given realease of it sometimes take until the next release to get working 100% right, but if all you want is sanity checking on your orders, it works right 99.9% of the time. Since the code for the forecaster and the main program are both compiled from the same souce code, it is pretty much the case that what the forecaster says will happen, is what will happen (provided no one else submits orders (:-) )

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